Gone are the days of families supported by one salary. The cost of living means this is not a feasible option for most.
Plus, the primary caregivers (women mostly) in many cases, want to work, in some capacity, as I do. We want to contribute financially, learn, develop and achieve in our own right.
My husband works full time and myself 4 days a week. Many of you will know from experience, getting to the end of each week equates to the same level of organisation necessary for a basic military operation. Our week requires getting four different people to four different places, on time, five days a week, each accompanied by a bag of appropriate accessories. Missing a drop-off window will have a knock-on effect on all the subsequent and any mixing up of accessories could lead to significant upset or embarrassment for any party. The stakes are high….
Whatever your week looks like, it’s a tough gig but it’s not impossible to succeed (99% of the time anyway) without going insane. Here are a few things I’ve figured out over the last few years:
Be organised. Obvious, but this is a daily struggle for me!
- Get bags, shoes, coats, and lunches ready the night before.
- Know what your morning implementation plan is, who’s doing what?
- Food plan and shop online. I can’t stress enough what a difference this makes.
- If you can afford it, get a cleaner. I can’t afford it yet but when I can, I will. It’s one of my biggest weekly stresses.
- Don’t do everything yourself – if you have people to help then use them; a partner, parents, in-laws. Be specific on when and how they can help.
- Don’t take on too many extra things – It will only add to the strain of your busy week. I have been guilty of this. You don’t need it.
Take that ‘me time’ at work. Make sure you take a lunch break; read a book, get some fresh air or talk to your friends. Be an expert in something else for a bit, be ‘you you’ for a while, rather than ‘parent you’.
But then leave it behind; ensure there is clear separation between work and family time, this is difficult with today’s technology, but don’t miss one of those lovely ordinary moments because you were checking your email.
Have a couple of things for yourself – It’s OK you know. Make one of them exercise, it will boost your energy levels and relieve stress, don’t underestimate its value. This year I am also learning some Spanish (via the duolingo app). It just takes 20 minutes here and there and I love it.
If you have a partner on this journey, then be kind to each other; whenever it’s possible my husband and I have a weekend lay in, him on a Saturday and myself on a Sunday. It’s a life-saver some weeks.
This is a tough juggling act for sure and if you do feel under constant strain then it’s probably time to tweak something. Otherwise, you’ll have the odd week when you feel like you haven’t done anything well, but don’t give yourself too much of a hard time, you’re probably doing a much better job than you imagine.
Published in association with Raring2Go Worthing